The International Committee on Computational Linguistics was set up by David Hays in the mid-Sixties as a permanent body to run international computational linguistics conferences but in an original way: with no permanent secretariat, subscriptions or funds. It was ahead of its time in that and other ways. COLING has always been distinguished by pleasant venues and atmosphere, rather than by the clinical efficiency of an airport conference hotel: COLINGs are simply nice conferences to be at. They have also striven for inclusiveness, both geographical, when the world was more harshly divided than it is now, and theoretical, in that COLING has been less prone to mood swings of theory than societies that are run in different, and more conventional, ways. In recent years, the ACL has given great assistance and cooperation in keeping COLING proceedings available and distbributed, a relationship due to Don Walker's participation in both bodies. Members of the ICCL who have died include Don Walker (1993), Dave Hays (1995), Bernard Vauquois (1985), Hans Karlgren (1996), Andre Ljudskanov, Guy Rondeau, Antonio Zampolli (2003) and Olga Kulagina (2005).

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